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Customer analysis a winning play for 'Candy Crush Saga' maker

King Digital Entertainment was losing players of "Candy Crush Saga" at an early stage in the online game -- a problem it solved with help from a customer data analytics project.

Last year, online and mobile game developer King Digital Entertainment PLC ran into an unforeseen problem with Candy Crush Saga, its most popular game. Lots of players were abandoning the game at level 65. With Candy Crush Saga currently containing a total of 725 levels, that meant King was losing customers before they got very far into the game. The answer: a customer analysis effort.

After looking through the data the company collects on customer gameplay, King's data analytics team found that almost all of the people who stopped playing did so after failing to make it past level 65. The information was passed on to the game design team, which made some coding tweaks to remove one particularly difficult element in that level. Success rates went up, and more players stuck with the game longer.

Casual gaming is becoming a big business: King reported $1.88 billion in revenue in 2013. The company, based in Dublin, Ireland, makes its money when players pay for in-game bonuses or to make additional attempts at a level they've failed to beat. Keeping players engaged is the primary business game for King -- and Andy Done, the company's data platform lead, said that what happened with level 65 shows the importance of using customer data to help with engagement. "It's important to keep a dialogue going with our gaming community," Done said. "What data allows us to do is create that dialogue at a huge scale."

To support the analytics process, King uses Hadoop and an analytical database from software vendor Exasol, plus QlikView business intelligence tools to visualize reports. But Done said the technology is merely a means of keeping the company close to its customers. "The approach,” he added, “has to start with a customer focus."

Ed Burns is site editor of SearchBusinessAnalytics. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter: @EdBurnsTT.

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